The day international law died – Anniversary of NATO attack on Yugoslavia

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It passed 17 years since NATO attacked Yugoslavia on this day, 24.3.1999. I have been writing about it from my personal viewpoint and described how the events affected me. The article can be found here:

Now, on the 17th anniversary of the event I would like to discuss how the event affected the World. I must say, that I am not a lawyer or political expert, I am just a computer scientist and these are my views deduced from the data I have found and events I have experienced. So let’s start!

The day international law died

I believe that we can mark 24.3.1999. as the day international law officially died! You may wonder why?

FR Yugoslavia at that time was a sovereign state in Europe (now the state is split to the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro). In 1998. in the province of Kosovo rose terrorist organization, called UCK or Liberation Army of Kosovo. The organization was mainly funded from drug trafficking from the western Europe (reports can be found, and by ties with islamic terrorist organization such as Al-Qaeda (, The Kosovo Liberation Army starting terrorizing non-Albanian population in Kosovo, including Serbs, Roma, Gorani and even Albanians loyal to Yugoslav government as well as conducting some assaults on police stations and military. In the case of rebelion what would any country do is to send military and police forces to sort out the situation. That was exactly what have Yugoslav government did. However, western powers who probably had bad experiences with Yugoslav government led by Slobodan Milosevic from the wars in Bosnia and Croatia sided with terrorist organization in Kosovo, describing them as freedom fighters (it is still amazing how you can describe drug, weapon and organ trafficking terrorist organization as freedom fighters, but propaganda was strong enough so they succeeded). After UCK managed to setup Racak incident ( and failed negotiations at Rambouillet, NATO with USA leadership started insisting on helping UCK by starting airstrikes against Yugoslavia. The resolution at the Security Council did not pass, so they decided to attack sovereign state without UN permission. That day, UN failed to protect small sovereign state against attack of the only World’s superpower at that moment by using international law which was one of the main ideas behind UN and UN Security Council. That moment,  we have seen the death of international law and the rise of law of might, power and strength in the international relationships.

NATO airstrikes lasted 78 days and caused death of more than 4000 civilians, 2000 soldiers and policemen, around 13 000 civilians were injured and around 200 000 Serbs were forced to leave Kosovo, and they never returned.

KOSOVO Ethinc map in 1999
KOSOVO Ethinc map in 1999
Kosovo ethnic map 2005
Kosovo ethnic map 2005











US and NATO countries claimed it is a sui generis case, meaning that this will not become their legal practice, but legal act applicable to Serbia only. However, that claim could not become true. We saw similar happening in Libia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Siria and there are more countries to come. It seemed in 2008., when Kosovo proclaimed unilateral independence, that the Republic of Serbia was alone in warning the World community what this will cause. When it finally happened as consequence of breaking international law, now many admit that situation in Kosovo was a mistake.

Rise of terror organizations

NATO did not stop on Kosovo to support terrorist organization. They did it for a long time after and before that. Under the logic that enemy of my enemy is my friend, they supported Afghanistan terrorist against Soviets, which created Al-Queda, later some ISIS-like organizations in Libia and ISIS in Siria. When these organizations grew strong enough, they turned against their supporters, murdering thousands of people and doing terrorist attacks in Istambul, Paris and Brussels. The threat that the whole World is trying to unite against now, would not exist if international law was followed and if countries did not finance dodgy rebel organizations against legal governments they did not like. Now we have a situation that will complicate our lives for decades, even for normal citizens with heavy controls, closed borders and privacy breaches by governments. We could have lived without that and without seeing any terrorist attacks on Europe soil if Europe did not get involved in these conflicts. Newton said that every action requires reaction and we are seeing the reaction for the actions EU and NATO governments made.

Kosovo is also turning against its sponsors. Not openly, but they produce the most ISIS fighters in Europe per million people: KosovoISISStats

As well they are among top asylum seekers in EU countries. Together with Albania, they are comparable with Iraqi and Afgan refugees:


In order to conclude, I would like to say that international military interventions never solved any problem. They only made it deeper, leaving a country in ruins, with a lot of refugees, killed, displaced, economy crushed to the level it cannot pick up after 15-20 years. Even they could not prevent genocide, they only could flip the coin and by stopping action of one side, leaving the other side to perform full genocide and territory cleansing. International community needs to return to the following international law and fix all the problems demonstration of might caused.

Instead of “Je suis Paris” or “Je suis Bruxells”, we should all say “Je suis la Serbie”, because that is the place where international law died, where it all started and we need to revive it from there.

Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, lived in Belgrade, Serbia, now living in Manchester, UK, and visitng the world. Nikola is a great enthusiast of AI, natural language processing, machine learning, web application security, open source, mobile and web technologies. Looking forward to create future. Nikola has done PhD in natural language processing and machine learning at the University of Manchester where he worked for 2 years. In 2020, Nikola moved to Berlin and works in Bayer Pharma R&D as a computational scientist.

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